THE hottest topic at our last meeting, on Thursday, 20th October 2011, was United Utilities’ proposal to put a sewerage plant on land between Mains Lane and the River Wyre.
Nearby resident Simon Beard asked us what we proposed to do about it and all we could say at this stage, as voiced by Cllr Maxine Chew, was that the parish council would respond to any application when it was received. She is also a Fylde Borough Councillor and will respond to any application submitted to FBC. But, she told Simon, we had all attended United Utilities’ ‘public exhibition’ at the River Wyre Hotel on Tuesday, 18th October 2011, and we had all voiced our individual opinions there.
The council is annoyed that United Utilities did not bother to keep the council informed of its plan to hold a meeting. A limited number of leaflets were distributed to some residents in Mains Lane, and more extensive leafleting was carried out in Poulton and Hambleton – not Singleton parish. Council chairman Cllr Bob Gallagher, who lives in Pool Foot Lane, did not receive a copy of the leaflet until the day after the meeting! Worse, said Cllr Chew, United Utilities chose to hold its meeting in an upstairs room, with no provision for the disabled.
Simon said that Singleton residents in the area were ‘disgusted’ and ‘devastated’ by the proposal and would do their utmost to block it. The two 30ft high tanks and even higher chimney would have a colossal impact on the environment. It was especially ‘appalling’ because it would be in a beautiful part of the river, affecting not only Mains Lane residents, but people in Hambleton – not to mention the even wider impact of any smells. “And to be told we’d be better off with mains drainage is an insult when we’ve spent a lot of the money on the problem.”
United Utilities hadn’t resolved its problems elsewhere in the Fylde, he added. Yet there were perfectly suitable industrial sites further up the river that would be much more appropriate for a sewerage plant. All United Utilities seemed to be concerned with was cost, without any regard for the environment.
Another visitor to our meeting was County Councillor Paul Hayhurst, who said he was in the same situation as the parish council and would have to wait for a formal planning application before expressing his view.
The plant proposal might have been the hottest topic, but a close second was traffic. We were fortunate to be visited by Road Traffic Sergeant Pete Beresford and Police Sergeant Niamh O’Donoghue and plied both for information and support for our continuing battle against speeding through the parish – The Village in particular – and our desire to have a traffic-calming and pedestrian-protecting mini-roundabout at the junction of Church Road with the main road through the village.
Police have stopped 800 motorists for speeding through the parish since the anti-speeding campaign started in January, and 500 of those were through the village. As reported at our last meeting, the majority of speeders were local people.
Sgt O’Donoghue reported that other crime was down – no serious crime in September compared to six crimes at the same time last year, and of the four incidents of anti-social behaviour, three were from one incident and the remaining one was road rage. However, speeding continued to be the police priority.
Sgt Beresford said police were targeting speeders on different days of the week and at different times and his gut feeling was that the campaign was having a general effect in slowing down motorists not only through Singleton but further along the roads feeding into Singleton, such as through Weeton.
Our chairman, Cllr Bob Gallagher, raised the issue of the use of mobile phones by saying that none of the tractors passing through the parish seemed to be complete without a phone pressed against the driver’s ear, and Sgt Beresford said it was a problem throughout the Fylde.
You can help
Residents could help considerably, he added. All you have to do is report any transgression and the police would at least caution the culprit, even if there was no prosecution possible. Residents could call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in total anonymity and without any fear of reprisal. Cllr Chew said people could contact her, too. And Sgt O’Donoghue was keen to find a local resident prepared to be trained to become a Special Constable.
Councillors repeated their desire for a mini-roundabout at the Church Road junction, especially as the mini-roundabout at the Lodge Lane junction had proved so effective over the years. But the trouble, said Sgt Beresford, was that so much depended on accident figures, resulting in prioritised action elsewhere in the Fylde. Cllr Clive Barnden said “It’d be a shame if we have to suffer a death before any action is taken.”
Sgt Beresford agreed to look into the issue and arrange an engineer’s visit to assess the risks. At Cllr Chew’s request, he is also to provide accident figures for the Singleton portion of the A585.
Co Cllr Paul Hayhurst said the county council was about to spend money on creating 20mph areas throughout the county and he would support applications from both Singleton and Staining for these.
The parish council decided to await feedback from Cllr Hayhurst and the police before making any decisions as to how to push forward.
We meet again on 17th November 2011 and 15th December. Both meetings start at 7.30pm, as usual, and will be in the church vestry, as usual.